EUSTIS — Lake And Sumter Emergency Recovery (LASER) will be welcoming next week 23 groups of volunteers from as far away as Michigan to help repair homes damaged by Tropical Storm Fay.
“The storm caused severe flooding at the time and then later resulted in mold and mildew build up inside many homes,” said Leisa Butler, LASER’s Volunteer Coordinator. “Due to weakened structures, ceilings have begun to collapse, floors are falling through and roofs are soft and leaking.”
The not-for-profit agency received after Tropical Storm Fay dropped more than 30 inches of rain in some areas of Lake County in 2008 a total 72 cases of families in need of assistance in the communities of Eustis, Mount Dora, Leesburg, Umatilla, Astor, Paisley and Grand Island.
“We have closed 31 cases as of this month,” Butler said “There are currently 13 cases that are a works in progress, meaning we either have volunteers currently working on their homes or that we have volunteers scheduled to come back again to continue the process of repairing.”
The volunteer groups will be under the direction of Pastor Jon Thomas with Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Lake Mary for summer missions and Mary Scelonces from the National Relief Network. Providing logistical support for the volunteer operation are the First Assembly of God of Eustis, Bay Street Baptist Church of Eustis, Faith Lutheran Church of Eustis, Golden Triangle YMCA and the Alexander Springs Recreation Area campground.
“We are working through the last of the Volunteer Florida Foundation Grant of $75,000 that was awarded for Tropical Storm Fay,” Butler said. “There is simply not enough to continue and there are many people still in need. With this in mind, we are very thankful to have the help of volunteers to come in and make much needed repairs.”
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners created LASER shortly after the devastating effects of the 2004 hurricanes. As a registered 501c3, not-for-profit organization, LASER’s mission is to strengthen recovery efforts from any disaster in Lake and Sumter counties. LASER conducts these operations through a coordinated communitywide approach, which provides for the immediate and long-term unmet needs of local citizens. In addition, as a not-for-profit organization, LASER has the ability to accept private and public donations to fulfill unmet needs of residents.
For more information about LASER, call (352) 483-1029 or log on to www.laserfl.com. Donations to LASER can be made through the Web site or by sending a check to: Lake And Sumter Emergency Recovery, Inc. (LASER) 27 E. Pinehurst Blvd. Suite B, Eustis, FL 32726.